MA, University of Colorado
BA, New York University
Rhonda Claridge received her Bachelor of Arts in journalism and classical writing from New York University and went on to earn her Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado. Currently an instructor of English at Colorado Mesa University-Montrose Campus, Claridge teaches English Composition, Writing Studio, Reading Studio and Mythology.
Originally from the Bahamas, Claridge moved to the high country of the Southern Rocky Mountains in 1992. She began reporting for a local newspaper in 1995, and she continues to publish articles as a freelance writer. Fiction, personal essays and researched non-fiction relating to human and natural history are her favored genres.
Claridge's goal as an instructor is to instill a love of learning and language. Citing a recent Association of American Colleges and Universities study, she pointed out that strong communication skills are a priority among today's employers. Thus, she emphasizes to students the importance of learning how to communicate effectively in order to succeed both professionally and personally. She challenges students to think independently, and teaches them to write in various forms in preparation for their future academic and career demands. Students are encouraged to work together and autonomously to learn more about their community and to explore their own identities. Assignments may require them to interview regional experts on an issue or event, or to research a myth from their ancestral heritage.
She has been teaching English Composition and Literature for 14 years at the Montrose campus. She engages students in the learning process by giving them free rein to explore topics of their own interest, by encouraging their progress and by helping them discover their particular strengths.
Eight years ago, Claridge founded the Black Canyon Review, an annual publication of student essays from the Montrose Campus, which she continues to edit and produce for the benefit of students and the larger reading community. This publication grants students an opportunity to showcase their scholarly and creative achievements.
2008 First Prize, Telluride Literary Mirror Contest;
2007 Robin Magee Fellowship Award;
Honorable Mention, 2001 Katherine Anne Porter Prize, The Nimrod/Hardman Awards;
Highly Commended, 2001 Commonwealth Broadcasting Prize for Short Fiction;
1999 Literature Artist Fellowship, Colorado Council on the Arts;
1998 Phoebe Fiction Award, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA;
1997 Philip Roth Writer-in-Residence, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA;
Third Prize, 1996 Writers' Society of the Bahamas Playwright Competition;
1995 Transatlantic Review Award for Fiction, The Henfield Foundation, New York, NY;
1995 Jovanovitch Imaginative Writing Award for Fiction, University of Colo., Boulder;
1993 Scholarship, Squaw Valley Community of Writers